7 Drawbacks to Shooting Fuji Cameras

I love the Fuji mirrorless cameras, but with other great options like the Sony a6500, are the drawbacks to Fuji enough to persuade me to switch? For me, no, but I want to share some of the things I DON'T love about the Fuji cameras.

It's no secret that I love the Fuji Camera system.  They are fun to shoot with fantastic controls, much lighter weight than my old Nikon full frame gear, and offer excellent color reproduction and low light sensitivity.

However, if you're considering a switch to Fuji, I want you to be aware of some of the pitfalls and drawbacks to the system.  While I'm a Fuji user, I'm not a fanboy.  I recognize that no camera system is perfect, and neither is Fuji.

The 10-24mm f/4 Lens

Without question, the Fuji 10-24mm lens is the Achilles' heel of the entire system in my opinion.  The lens is relatively inexpensive when compared to other professional wide angle lenses, and it's lightweight, but it's not nearly the quality of most of the other Fuji lenses.

The problem with the 10-24 is that it's not weather sealed.  Of all the lenses in my bag that I need weather sealed–it's the wide angle!  The wide angle is the lens that goes with me to shoot waterfalls, ocean waves, rain storms, etc.  I have shot with dozens of non-weather sealed lenses over the years and haven't had too many issues, but the 10-24 is the exception.  Nearly every time I get soaked in the spray from a large waterfall, the 10-24 dies on me.  I wondered if I had a bad copy, but I bought another one and have had the exact same experience.  It takes VERY little water to stop the lens from functioning–autofocus won't work, or the aperture won't change, or an error will show on the camera about a lens connection problem.

I have spent many frustrated afternoons in my hotel room with a blow dryer trying to dry out my 10-24 so I can go shoot again in the afternoon.  Sometimes if I just have too much saliva in my mouth when I look at the lens it'll die on me.

The 10-24 is reasonably sharp.  It's not sharp like a Nikon 14-24 f/2.8.  It's not sharp like a Batis or a Cutco, but it's reasonably sharp.  I haven't done enough lab testing with the lens to figure out where in the zoom range it tends to lose sharpness, but anecdotally it seems to be on the wide end where it really struggles.

Fortunately, Fuji has promised us an 8-16mm f/2.8 lens.  I will be the first to buy it.  I will knock over women and children and elderly widows and get first in line.  I was honestly wondering if I needed to switch over to Sony until I heard the news of the 8-16mm coming out some time this year (2017).  So look out, elderly widows.

No GPS

For a guy who has put two years of work into developing the Really Good Photo Spots iPhone app (to be released in May, 2017), I have a special interest in having GPS geotags in my photos.  Unfortunately, there's no reasonable way to do this on the Fuji system.  There is no accessory from Fuji or any third party that will reliably geotag photos on the Fuji XT2 or the Fuji XPRO2.  The Fuji app allows geotagging when connected to the camera via wifi, but it's very clunky, time consuming, and unreliable.

GPS is incredibly simple for camera companies to implement.  A simple GPS chip costs only a few dollars and can be implemented with rudimentary coding.  Shall we form picket lines around Fuji Headquarters in Tokyo?

Terrible Lens Caps

They fall off–always.  Fortunately, my friend and fellow podcaster Sandy Dorau showed me these Domke lens wraps which I like quite a bit better than using a lens cap anyway, so I'm just starting to use them instead.

Although the Fuji 50-140 is lighter weight than the Nikon 70-200, the size is about the same.

No Specialty Lenses

The Fuji lens system is generally quite good as long as you don't need specialty lenses.  If you want to shoot sports with a 600mm f/4 lens, you're out of luck.  If you want to shoot professional real estate photography with a tilt-shift lens, you're out of luck.  If you want to do great than 1:1 macro photography, you're out of luck.

However, the vast majority of photographers will find all the lenses they need.  I personally have never been one to proliferate lenses.  I feel that with the trinity of an 8-16mm (soon!), a 16-55, and my 50-140, I can shoot any portrait, landscape, city, street, or night photography shot I want to.  But it would be nice to at least have the option of a few specialty lenses as needs come about.

Getting Expensive Compared to the Competition

Fuji cameras are still reasonably priced, but the prices are definitely creeping up as the cameras are becoming more popular.  Just two years ago, you could score a top-of-the-line Fuji mirrorless for $400 less than you can today.  However, as you can see from the table below, the price of the Fuji mirrorless cameras is still reasonable.  I do think that Fuji will lose many sales to the Sony a6500 if they don't get a little more competitive, though.

Mirrorless CameraMirrorless Weight (In grams)Comparable DSLR CameraDSLR Weight (In grams)Weight Difference (In grams)Weight Difference is equal to...
Fuji XT2 (APS-C)457Nikon D500 (APS-C)76030396 tea bags
Sony a6500 (APS-C)420Canon 80D (APS-C)650230 2 bars of soap
Sony A7rii (35mm)587Canon 5D iv (35mm)8752882 bananas
Fuji GFX 50s (Medium Format)820 Pentax 645z (Medium Format)150068017 dead parakeets

But the camera is not the real cost.  The real cost is the lenses.  Fuji lenses are not cheap, but most of them are very good quality.

If you compare the cost of a Fuji camera system and the trinity of lenses to a micro 4/3 system, you're paying far more.  Because more than one manufacturer makes micro 4/3 lenses, they are less expensive.

Things work differently in Lightroom

In the video above, I share some of the differences between working with Fuji's .RAF files, and working in Lightroom with other brands of cameras.  The sliders and colors do look different with Fuji cameras and it can take some time to get used to, but in general I don't feel that this is as big of a deal as some people make it out to be.

Very Few Third Party Lenses

I have recently been looking longingly at many of the lenses Sigma is releasing for DSLRs and eventually for Sony EF mount.  The 85mm f/1.4, the 135…. all of them.  There are some incredible lenses coming out for other systems, and currently the Fuji system has VERY few entries from other companies.

In the end, I still think Fuji is the best camera brand for me; however, I wanted to share some of the negatives to the system and hope you found the information helpful.

Comments

  1. Fuji is not the only brand neglecting the GPS. Same situation with Nikon. D8xx series excellent for landscapes and the only solution is awkward GP-1 occupying remote release socket (you may alternatvely drag a rosary consisting of GP-1 + remote; very “convenient”).
    The next D8xx will be released this year. I suppose once again without built-in GPS module. Pentax managesd to do it with their flagship K-1. Feasible?

  2. A good option to geotag photos for cameras that don’t have GPS (or even if they do and you want to save the battery power on your camera) is to use a gps tracking app like Geotag Photos (iOS). Just make sure your phone and camera are synced up by time, upload the tracking file onto your computer (I use Dropbox for this) and Lightroom will place all the photos taken during your shoot on the route based on when they were shot.

  3. Hi Jim,
    I have been waiting for your evaluation of the Fuji system, knowing you’ve been converting from DSLR-system. I did the same, moving to XT-1 approximately at the same time as you did, and I am not fully satisfied. Still, I will not go back! I totally follow you on your thoughts of drawback, but to me they are not that important. Yes, I miss some lenses, but hopefully they’ll come.

    What surprises me though, is that you don’t have any drawbacks about the focus system. I find it difficult to focus in low light situations. I did some portrait photography indoor in my home, late afternoon, and the camera really had problem to focus. It was frustrating for me and for the model as well. Also in situations when I photograph moving objects, the camera looses track a lot of times. I would love to hear your thoughts on the focus system, perhaps in a podcast of yours.

    Finally, I would like to share with you a good but when it comes to flashlights. I know you love the Yongnou speedlites, and I’ve got a couple of them my self. What I missed for my streetphotography and travelphoto was a small speedlite that I can easily use hand held. Fujifilm has a couple of speedlites (EF-20 and EF-X20) but they are expensive. I bought the Meike MK-320 and I love it. In use with the hähnel Combi TF, it works perfectly for my field.

    Thank you for your reviews and sharing of knowledge!

    1. Author

      @Leidolv – The Fuji XT1 had issues with the focus system. Wasn’t perfect. But the new Fuji XT2 and the XPRO2 has an EXCELLENT focus system.

  4. MFT are gaining on you! None of those complaints with my new Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mk2

  5. I have had two Fuji cameras in the past. Point and shoot though.They produced fantastic color pictures and had very low light capability.One of them was historically the first point and shoot camera to shoot 9 mega pixels in 2006.It was the E900. Which was a big thing in those days when only DSLRS gave you that much resolution. I bought it back then for $450 on sale. It was my second Fuji camera. Prior to it, I had owned the A345 Model in 2004 which had 4.1megapixels and was an entry model camera for Fuji.So you see it was a big jump going from 4 to 9 megapixels.

    Durability was the issue with both camera.sThey both did not last more than 2 years.
    The A345 started falling apart the following year after purchase. The E900 will produce horizontal white lines across the pictures.Fuji for a long time, had no solution for these mysterious white lines (I don’t know if they eventually did but as far back as 2010 there were no solutions) .

    I had to go back to Canon cameras which I had found very reliable when I owned my first Canon in 1979.

    This was my experience with Fuji point and shoot cameras and my departure from that brand.I wonder if there reliability issues improved with their mirrorless systems.I am not in a hurry to try them.

    I have found Canon and Nikon DSLRs though heavy, but super reliable and I am in no hurry to depart from manufacturers.

  6. I switched form Canon to Fuji two years ago, mostly because of size and weight. I have an X-T1 and I love it. The new series of f2 lenses (XF23, XF35 and XF50) are amazing – small, lightweight, water resistant, with fast autofocus and they are inexpensive too. My only complaint is the plastic door that covers the audio/computer ports on the side of the camera is warped/bulging and in need of repair. I’ve seen many X-T1’s with this problem.

    I don’t care about the lack of GPS that much – that’s too much detail about an image that I would never refer to again.

    I shoot RAW+FINE and I have a hard time telling the difference between the Lightroom film simulations applied to the RAW file and the same images captured in JPEG.

    Crappy lens caps? Yep, but not a huge issue. I’ve never lost one over the two years across 6 different lenses. (18-135, 56, 23 f1.4, 23 f2 35 f2 50 f2).

    Great podcasts guys! Keep up the great work. At the end of every podcast, I feel compelled to buy new gear, try a new technique or shoot something new!

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